By Abubakar Yunus
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu SAN, has reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces. He emphasised that the Commission is deeply concerned about sexual and gender-based violence and is dedicated to addressing this crucial issue. These remarks were made during an advocacy visit to his office in Abuja by TechHerNG.
TechHer, an organisation committed to leveraging technology for social impact, met with the commission’s executive secretary to explore potential collaboration in the fight against Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV). TechHer also introduced Kuram, a homegrown reporting and response mechanism for incidents of online gender-based violence.
The delegation, headed by Peter Akinnusi, Head of Programmes at TechHerNG, voiced deep concern regarding the escalating instances of OGBV and the difficulties with accessing justice for survivors. Akinnusi underscored the responsibility of state duty-bearers in fostering awareness, conducting research, and formulating policy recommendations to combat this digital menace effectively.
“Our motivation behind collaborating with duty bearers like the National Human Rights Commission stems from our recognition of your pivotal role in safeguarding human rights. By forging this partnership, we aim to harness your expertise, resources, and influence to tackle the pressing issue of Online Gender-Based Violence jointly. We believe that working together can bring about meaningful change and create safer digital spaces for women and girls,” he said.
TechHer’s Women’s Rights & Safety Officer, Amina Salaudeen, expressed gratitude for the commission’s dedication to preventing and combating gender-based violence, mainly through its investigation department, which has significantly contributed to advancing research. Acknowledging the crucial role of technology in addressing societal challenges, Salaudeen also provided insights into Kuram, underscoring its features that empower survivors of OGBV to report incidents and access resources for combating digital violence.
“Kuram, which is ‘Keep me Safe’ in Tiv language, represents an innovative platform designed to empower OGBV survivors. It facilitates incident reporting, access to support, and essential resources. Furthermore, Kuram’s educational materials contribute to TechHer’s holistic approach to tackling OGBV, including awareness and promoting responsible online behaviour, especially among young users,” Salaudeen said.
The executive secretary extended a cordial welcome to the TechHer Team, commending their dedication to the safety of women and girls. He emphasised the crucial role of partnerships and collaborative efforts in raising awareness and enhancing security measures against this digital threat. He praised TechHer for initiatives like Kuram, which reflect the commission’s commitment to promoting human rights, with a particular focus on women and girls.
“This collaborative initiative is both timely and imperative, as we acknowledge the necessity of joining forces to address these challenges. We understand that we cannot work in isolation, and by combining our resources and expertise, we can extend our reach and make a more significant impact. In an era where technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, leaving us with minimal privacy, we are witnessing an alarming rise in digital violence. Therefore, we eagerly welcome capacity-building efforts that will empower us to respond more effectively to these violations,” Ojukwu emphasised.
Amina expressed TechHer’s gratitude for the warm reception extended by the commission. She emphasised that the meeting marked a significant step towards achieving one of TechHer’s objectives of forging robust partnerships to promote a safer society.
“We deeply appreciate this collaboration, as it strongly resonates with TechHer’s mission to leverage our ability to convene and establish partnerships with state actors and duty bearers. Our common goal is to combat the proliferation of online gender-based violence in all its manifestations,” she expressed.